Posts Tagged ‘Glenn Curtiss

16
Jun
09

On This Day, June 16: Nureyev Defects

June 16, 1961

Russian ballet star Nureyev defects

Rudolf Nureyev, the young star of the Soviet Union’s Kirov Opera Ballet Company, defects during a stopover in Paris. The high-profile defection was a blow to Soviet prestige and generated international interest.

Nureyev became a star of Russian ballet in 1958 when, at barely 20 years old, he was made one of the Kirov Opera Ballet’s featured soloists. The Kirov and the Bolshoi ballet companies were two of the jewels of Soviet cultural diplomacy, and their performances earned worldwide accolades and respect for the arts in the USSR. In June 1961, the Kirov Company finished a run in Paris. On June 16, just as the company was preparing to board a flight home, Nureyev broke from the group and insisted that he was staying in France. According to eyewitnesses, other members of the troupe pleaded with Nureyev to rejoin them and return to the Soviet Union. The dancer refused and threw himself into the arms of airport security people, screaming, “Protect me!” The security officials took Nureyev into custody, whereupon he asked for political asylum. The Kirov Company fretted over the loss of its star and Soviet security guards fumed over Nureyev’s defection. Eventually, the troupe flew back to Russia without the dancer.

Nureyev’s high-profile defection was a double blow to the Soviet Union. First, it detracted from the quality of the Kirov Company, which had featured the young prodigy prominently in its performances throughout the world. Second, it severely damaged Soviet propaganda that touted the political and artistic freedom in Russia.

Nureyev continued with his career after his defection. During the next 30 years he danced with England’s Royal Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre. He was in great demand as both a dancer and choreographer, and even made a few films (including a disastrous turn as the silent film star Rudolf Valentino). In 1983, he took over as ballet director of the Paris Opera. In 1989, he briefly returned to the Soviet Union to perform. He died in Paris in 1993.

“Russian ballet star Nureyev defects,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2700 [accessed Jun 16, 2009]

On This Day

0455 – Rome was sacked by the Vandal army.

1815 – Napoleon defeated the Prussians at the Battle of Ligny, Netherlands.

1858 – In a speech in Springfield, IL, U.S. Senate candidate Abraham Lincoln said the slavery issue had to be resolved. He declared, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

1897 – The U.S. government signed a treaty of annexation with Hawaii.

1909 – Glenn Hammond Curtiss sold his first airplane, the “Gold Bug” to the New York Aeronautical Society for $5,000.

1922 – Henry Berliner accomplished the first helicopter flight at College Park, MD.

1932 – The ban on Nazi storm troopers was lifted by the von Papen government in Germany.

1952 – “Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl” was published in the United States.

1958 – Hungarian prime minister Imre Nagy was hanged for treason. He had been the prime minister during the 1956 uprising that was crushed by Soviet tanks.

1963 – 26-year-old Valentina Tereshkova went into orbit aboard the Vostok 6 spacecraft for three days. She was the first female space traveler.

1977 – Leonid Brezhnev was named the first Soviet president of the USSR. He was the first person to hold the post of president and Communist Party General Secretary. He replaced Nikolai Podgorny.

1989 – Hungarian prime minister Imre Nagy was reburied. The funeral brought at least a quarter of a million people to the streets of Budapest. Nagy had been prime minister during the 1956 uprising that was crushed by Soviet tanks. He was hanged for treason on June 16, 1958.

June 16, 1999

SLA member captured after more than 20 years

On this day in 1999, Kathleen Ann Soliah, a former member of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), is arrested near her home in St. Paul, Minnesota. Soliah, who now calls herself Sara Jane Olsen, had been evading authorities for more than 20 years.

In the mid-1970s, the SLA, a small, radical American paramilitary group, made a name for itself with a series of murders, robberies and other violent acts. They were most well-known for the 1974 kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst, who became a member of the group. In April 1975, members of the SLA robbed a bank in Carmichael, California, and, in the process, killed one of the bank’s customers, Myrna Opsahl. According to Patty Hearst, who served as the group’s getaway driver that day, Soliah took part in the robbery.

Four months later, in August 1975, Lost Angeles policemen discovered a bomb where one of their patrol cars had earlier been parked. Though police believe it had been designed to explode when the car moved, it had failed to detonate. Soliah was indicted for the crime in 1976 but by then she had already left town, and did not return, becoming a fugitive for nearly 23 years. Soliah eventually settled with her husband, a doctor, and three children in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she continued to advocate for various causes under the assumed name Sara Jane Olsen.

In the spring of 1999, however, Soliah’s case was featured on an episode of television’s America’s Most Wanted; she was arrested several weeks later. In 2002, as part of a plea bargain, she pled guilty to two counts of planting bombs and was sentenced to five years and four months in jail. The Board of Prison Terms then changed her sentence to 14 years. After pleading guilty to the attempted bombings, she was arraigned for the Opsahl killing and was later convicted and sentenced to another six years.

In 2004, a judge threw out the adjusted 14-year term, saying the board “abused its discretion” in changing the sentence. Olsen remains in prison in California.

“SLA member captured after more than 20 years,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=1038 [accessed Jun 16, 2009]

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10
Jun
09

Curtiss Pusher A-1 "Sweetheart"

IMG_9483

The first powered flight by the Wright brothers used a pusher design.  With the propeller behind the pilot it pushed the airplane through the air. Glenn Curtiss, an American aviation pioneer, continued development of that type of design with his 1912 Curtis Pusher.

IMG_9484

This particular aircraft built by Glenn Curtiss in New York was shipped to San Diego for pilot training.  The airplane was purchased by John Kaminski of Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1912 and shipped back to Wisconsin.  Kaminski nicknamed it “Sweetheart” and put the plane on display.  It would continue to fly in exhibitions by various pilots until 1969 when it was donated to the EAA Airventure Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

For more on the history of this airplane see: Curtiss Pusher

29
May
09

On This Day, May 29: Wisconsin Statehood

May 29, 1848

Wisconsin enters the Union

Following approval of statehood by the territory’s citizens, Wisconsin enters the Union as the 30th state.

In 1634, French explorer Jean Nicolet landed at Green Bay, becoming the first European to visit the lake-heavy northern region that would later become Wisconsin. In 1763, at the conclusion of the French and Indian Wars, the region, a major center of the American fur trade, passed into British control. Two decades later, at the end of the American Revolution, the region came under U.S. rule and was governed as part of the Northwest Territory. However, British fur traders continued to dominate Wisconsin from across the Canadian border, and it was not until the end of the War of 1812 that the region fell firmly under American control.

In the first decades of the 19th century, settlers began arriving via the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes to exploit Wisconsin’s agricultural potential, and in 1832 the Black Hawk War ended Native American resistance to white settlement. In 1836, after several decades of governance as part of other territories, Wisconsin was made a separate entity, with Madison, located midway between Milwaukee and the western centers of population, marked as the territorial capital. By 1840, population in Wisconsin had risen above 130,000, but the people voted against statehood four times, fearing the higher taxes that would come with a stronger central government. Finally, in 1848, Wisconsin citizens, envious of the prosperity that federal programs brought to neighboring Midwestern states, voted to approve statehood. Wisconsin entered the Union the next May.

“Wisconsin enters the Union,” The History Channel website, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5044 (accessed May 29, 2009).

On This Day

1453 – Constantinople fell to Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, ending the Byzantine Empire.

1765 – Patrick Henry denounced the Stamp Act before Virginia‘s House of Burgesses.

1790 – Rhode Island became the last of the original thirteen colonies to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

1910 – An airplane raced a train from Albany, NY, to New York City. The airplane pilot Glenn Curtiss won the $10,000 prize.

1911 – The first running of the Indianapolis 500 took place.

1912 – Fifteen women were dismissed from their jobs at the Curtis Publishing Company in Philadelphia, PA, for dancing the Turkey Trot while on the job.

1922 – Ecuador became independent.

1951 – C.F. Blair became the first man to fly over the North Pole in single engine plane.

1953 – Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became first men to reach the top of Mount Everest.

1962 – Buck (John) O’Neil became the first black coach in major league baseball when he accepted the job with the Chicago Cubs.

1973 – Tom Bradley was elected the first black mayor of Los Angeles.

1985 – 39 people were killed and 400 were injured in a riot at a European Cup soccer match in Brussels, Belgium.

1999 – Space shuttle Discovery completed the first docking with the International Space Station.

2001 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that disabled golfer Casey Martin could use a cart to ride in tournaments.

May 29, 1932

Bonus Marchers arrive in Washington

At the height of the Great Depression, the so-called “Bonus Expeditionary Force,” a group of 1,000 World War I veterans seeking cash payments for their veterans’ bonus certificates, arrive in Washington, D.C. One month later, other veteran groups spontaneously made their way to the nation’s capital, swelling the Bonus Marchers to nearly 20,000 strong, most of them unemployed veterans in desperate financial straits. Camping in vacant government buildings and in open fields made available by District of Columbia Police Chief Pelham D. Glassford, they demanded passage of the veterans’ payment bill introduced by Representative Wright Patman.

While awaiting a vote on the issue, the veterans conducted themselves in an orderly and peaceful fashion, and on June 15 the Patman bill passed in the House of Representatives. However, two days later, its defeat in the Senate infuriated the marchers, who refused to return home. In an increasingly tense situation, the federal government provided money for the protesters’ trip home, but 2,000 refused the offer and continued to protest. On July 28, President Herbert Hoover ordered the army, under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, to evict them forcibly. MacArthur’s men set their camps on fire, and the veterans were driven from the city. Hoover, increasingly regarded as insensitive to the needs of the nation’s many poor, was much criticized by the public and press for the severity of his response.

“Bonus Marchers arrive in Washington,” The History Channel website, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5046 (accessed May 29, 2009).




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